T-Mobile is attempting making a comeback in a big way. After nearly being sold to AT&T last year before the deal was nixed by The Department of Justice, the nation’s #4 carrier announced last week that they will be able to service unlocked iPhones from any carrier. This is great news for Real Estate Professionals on a budget, as T-Mobile is commonly known for being the least expensive of the “Big Four” carriers. It’s been quite a turn of events for the company over the past few months.
T-Mobile first was rumored to be eyeing a merger with Sprint, which caused AT&T to get in the game and make a serious bid for them. The two companies came to terms, which heavily favored T-Mobile if the deal came apart. In December, the Department of Justice cited antitrust issues and denied the deal from going through. This cost AT&T dearly, as they had to pay T-Mobile a non-refundable break-up fee of $4 billion dollars. AT&T’s last earnings statement showed the impact of the failed merger, which hurt their bottom line. T-Mobile, on the other hand, came out of it with a strong balance sheet. Despite the lowest number of national subscribers among the “Big Four” the company was flush with cash and ready to make a move.
The last week of February, T-Mobile announced they were spending $4 billion (the same as the break-up fee they received) to upgrade its network, which includes building out its 4G LTE network. They made the iPhone announcement the same day. This is huge, because they were the largest carrier to be left out of the iPhone race last year when Sprint and Verizon were added as exclusive carriers. A fair reason why T-Mobile didn’t get the iPhone was that they were already deeply involved in merger talks with AT&T and that it looked as if the deal would close without a hitch. When it did not, they were left in the cold. This cost them a lot of subscribers late last summer when many left the network for the three iPhone carriers. When the merger with AT&T fell apart, T-Mobile had to do something to stay competitive. This is a move in the right direction. Here’s how it will work.
Consumers will need to get their existing iPhones unlocked first. Once the phone is unlocked, customers can bring the iPhone to any T-Mobile store, where they will be activated on its network. The phones will work like before, because the T-Mobile’s network will now be compatible with iPhones. This can save consumers anywhere from $50 to $85 per month, depending on the plan they sign with T-Mobile and the plan they had before with their previous carrier. For the cost-conscience Real Estate Professional, this savings could be used on other expenses such as marketing or advertising.
While T-Mobile’s eventual goal is to provide the iPhone in their stores for sale, this is the next best thing. It shows that they are committed to growing and keeping up with the hottest trends in the industry. I think that this is a great move because it creates more competition for the same phone. This competition can spark price wars, which is great for consumers as prices often come down. For the savvy agent, this could give him or her the same product and service for a fraction of what they’re currently paying.
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